Guest Author - Kelli Deister
This article is about children that abuse other children. Some call it bullying, I prefer to label it as abuse because I sincerely believe that it is abusive behavior.
Many children endure abuse from their peers on a daily basis. There is the name calling, the taunting, and the teasing. Some students will take a child’s name and turn it into a name that they make fun of. They may taunt their peers by purposely repeating the name. Many children endure teasing. Some students may not be able to afford to buy new clothes for school. They may not even have enough money to purchase school supplies. When this occurs, other students might tease them endlessly. They may taunt and tease the student and call them names. Sadly, the abusive behavior begins to spread and once the teasing begins, it quickly picks up around the school and more students begin to tease the child.
Students have been known to harass other students if they are of a different race or culture. This is something that happens often in Hawaii. Caucasian children are called Haoles. They are told many times, “We grew here, you flew here,” by their peers. The Caucasian students are teased and taunted about the color of their skin. I know that this behavior happens across the country. There are many children that are teased and taunted, by their peers, because of the color of their skin or their culture.
There are incidents when male students snap the bras of female students. My own daughter has experienced this. This is sexual harassment. It is inappropriate behavior; however, it happens frequently. Many times, the male student sees nothing wrong with this behavior. Girls are also teased about their bodies, when developing. I recently learned that this happens often, especially when a female student is developing rather quickly.
Lastly, there are incidents when children threaten their peers. The abusive student will bully another student, until the victim is reduced to tears and in fear. They may feel uncomfortable and unsafe going to school. There are obviously many scenarios that occur at schools on a daily basis. It is impossible to address each incident or scenario. I have touched on those issues that I believe happen frequently.
Children do abuse other children. It may be verbal abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse or physical abuse. It happens and needs to be addressed. The only way, I believe, to stop the abuse from happening at our schools is to have a zero tolerance policy and follow through with it. There needs to be consequences for those that abuse their peers. Our children should not be fearful of going to school. It is the school administrations duty to provide a safe environment in school. Parents can also be involved through the PTA at their child’s school. The abuse must stop!